Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Restaurant Review - Abita Brewpub

So as it turns out Abita Springs, LA, is almost exactly halfway between Houston, TX, and Huntsville, AL.  It is also the home of the aptly named and regionally popular Abita Springs Brewery and Brewpub. While the brewery wasn't open for tours when I arrived, the brewpub was; and like a medieval pilgrim journeying to the Holy Land, I had to stop and pay homage.

The building itself is exactly what you would expect to see on the north side of Lake Pontchartrain.  It has a pleasant covered courtyard festooned with the classical Louisianian vinelike foliage.  The inside is arranged in the classical American brewpub style; concrete floors, wood paneled walls, and wobbly well worn wooden tables.  The bar itself is on the small side, but for bar drinkers the main attraction is probably the tap room at the brewery less than 2 miles away.

Photo courtesy reetandbobrving.blogspot.com
For my beer/ drink order I had the "Premium Flight" which is collection of some of their more limited production releases including two seasonal selections (Andy Gator, Restoration Pale Ale, Jack-A-Mo IPA, Barley Wine, and Red Ale).  ($9.00 for five, 5 oz. pours)

Since I was only an hour north of New Orleans, I had to sample their jambalaya and an order of their sweet potato fries.

The jambo arrived well plated.  Unfortunately, I found it to be very underseasoned.  A quick shake of the salt shaker corrected this, but overall I have to rate it as a mediocre to descent (but not transcendent) preparation of a classic Creole dish.  The accompanying crawfish corn muffin was tasty, if a little dry, and the crayfish, though enjoyable, were a on the chewy side.  ($13.00)

Abita Brewpub Jambalay

Abita Brewpub Crayfish Corn Muffin
Unlike the jambalaya, the sweet potato fries were some of the best I have ever eaten!  They were light and crispy with a touch of starchy sweetness from the potatoes.  C'est Magnifique! If you're ever lucky enough to stop by this homey taverna, make sure to order a plate for everyone in your party, trust me you won't want to "share"!

Abita Brewpub Sweet Potato Fries- SO GOOD!
Unfortunately, it may have been my status as a single diner on a busy Sunday afternoon, but I found the service to be a little on the slow side.  My waitress was friendly, though not necessarily a beer expert.  The bar tender on the other hand was more than helpful with information regarding my selections.  If you are a beer geek, and unconcerned with the average diner experience, sit at the bar.

Overall, this brewpub is a pleasant hidden gem in a Faulkner-esque southern-burg.  And if you find the beer a little overpowering to continue driving, take some time to explore the square (complete with a museum) and the fruit stand across the street.

Eat good food.  Drink good beer.  And above all, stay classy!

Abita Brew Pub on Urbanspoon

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